Popcorn Time likes to live dangerously. The so-called “Netflix for pirates” is designed to make movie torrenting a mainstream experience, and is legally ambiguous at best. After shutting down completely under threat, however, Popcorn Time was resurrected under a new banner, Time4Popcorn, even releasing an app for Android devices. More recently, the popular service has taken one more step towards ostensible legitimacy, releasing a new Windows version with Chromecast support.
Existing only in beta form for the service’s Alpha Windows build at present, Chromecast use for Popcorn Time is “designed for developers and early adopters,” so casting of the service will likely be a bit spotty to start. According to a report by Gizmodo, the service is also adding Chromecast support for Mac and Android applications in the future, making it even easier to access the latest Hollywood fare on your flat screen – if you’re up for it.
In the wild west of illegal pirating, Popcorn Time has always stood out. Offering users a streamlined interface to access a variety content from new releases, to classic films, the service is designed to immediately beam media to your hard drive which will later self-destruct on a computer restart. Users who go to the site may have no idea that they are potentially accessing pirated material, simply because the site looks so legitimate. Whether the site is actually breaking copyright law, however, is still up for some debate.
In an interview with TorrentFreak, Argentinian co-creator, Sebastian, said “Popcorn Time as a project is legal. We checked. Four Times.” Still, not long after that interview, the original developers wrote the site’s obituary in rather dramatic fashion, blaming legal pressure as one of the reasons for closing up shop.
“Our experiment has put us at the doors of endless debates about piracy and copyright, legal threats and the shady machinery that makes us feel in danger for doing what we love,” the post read. “And that’s not a battle we want a place in.”
Seemingly undeterred, two new teams of programmers reformed Popcorn Time soon afterword, taking on the service’s mantle of providing free content for all with the development of the Time4Popcorn fork, as well as another version currently in beta at popcorntime.io.
We can’t tell you Popcorn Time is legal. In fact, there’s a very good chance it is very illegal – downloading pirated, copyrighted certainly is. But as of yet, the new versions of the service have remained under the radar, and out of the court room. The service may be able to keep its low profile as it does not directly host content, has no monetization, and is reportedly designed as “an experiment to learn and share.”
That said, don’t expect it to be a mainstay of your living room. As the past has shown, these new iterations of Popcorn Time may be living on borrowed time, and could disappear in an instant. As for now, Time4Pocorn is ready for use with Chromecast for Windows today.